My neighbor's listing .. a train wreck in slow motion

Real Estate Agent with Thompson Company, REALTORS® MD594797

So, my neighbor's listed their house for sale about 2 weeks ago and I feel like I'm watching a train wreck in slow motion. I am not the listing agent and I am more than okay with it. Although I do have the neighborhood advantage and could market this to the nth degree .. it's just well, a little too close to home and I know too much - too much as in obligated to disclose.

I've been the helpful neighbor for a few months, dishing out advice like no other, providing market updates and even doing a bit of yard work, all the while being fully aware that this is not going to be my listing. It is, however, in my best interest that my neighbor's home sells quickly and for top dollar.

It's not going to happen ... I'm watching all the things that are being done, or rather not done, and it's just turning my stomach. I'm watching a train wreck in slow motion and as much as I want to throw myself onto the tracks to stop it .. I can't do anything about it.

There's the oops paint in the bedrooms, the lawn full of weeds, the giant hole on the side of the front step skillfully hidden by a freshly planted Hosta, the front door that has been painted a color like something you would find in a baby's diaper (that was the nicest analogy I could think of) and all the closet doors are stained nicotine yellow. Which buyer doesn't find that appealing.

The pictures are plentiful but only 3 are decent. There's no picture of the newly remodeled kitchen but the upstairs toilet is featured prominently. The A/C and heat pump are marketed as new although they are at least 5 years old. There is a fireplace in the basement but the listing states "0" for number of fireplaces. There's no neighborhood description, no mentioning of the outstanding school district ... "marketing" seems to be limited to the Multiple Listing Service.

It's very obvious that none of my advice was followed.. except the original list price - which was just dropped by 5K today! I wonder why! [insert sarcasm mixed with disbelief here] I understand the truth is hard to take sometimes especially when it comes in form of a long list of suggestions provided by a stranger ... It's nothing personal though, it's business - the truth will get your home SOLD!

What can I do? I can't force anyone to listen. At this stage in the game my hands are tied and I'm about to put the blindfolds on as well because this train wreck in slow motion is just too painful to watch!

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Thompson Company, REALTORS

16910 Oak Hill Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860

Andrea is a REALTOR® based in Silver Spring, MD, who has enjoyed assisting buyers and sellers in Montgomery and Howard County, MD (and beyond) for 16+ years now. She always answers the phone with a smile, enjoys running, hiking, and traveling, speaks German, reads a lot, blogs a little, and drinks too much coffee. 


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 Andrea Bedard, Thompson Company, REALTORS: from Just Listed to Just SOLD


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Home Selling
Advice for Sellers
The One That Got Away
montgomery county
advice for sellers
what not to do when listing your maryland home for sale
howard county md listing agent

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Susan Shaw
Premiere Plus Realty Co.Marco Island, FL - Marco Island, FL

It sounds like any new neigbors you  get will better than the ones that live there now and when they move in the neighborhood will be a better place. 

Aug 22, 2012 12:15 AM #24
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Sounds like to me your were blessed not to get this listing! Congrats on the feature.

Aug 22, 2012 12:32 AM #25
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

So many FSBOs think that all they have to do is take a few pictures and slap the listing on the MLS to sell a home.  That's true, in a hot market, most of the time.  But, when not everything sells, it takes a bit more to market and sell.  They'll learn the hard way and hopefully call you to list.

Aug 22, 2012 12:34 AM #26
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Hi Andrea, although we do wonder why, most of the time it seems that not being the listing agent for your neighbor's house is often a blessing in disguise.  At least now you can refer all their questions back to their agent!

Aug 22, 2012 01:00 AM #27
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Andrea,  I guess we all have this situation sooner or later.  In my case I suggested a list of $850k but the seller knew more about real estate than me ( !!! )  wanted to list at $975k.  Update: 4 years later - called me to list house - market now barely supports $425k.  Not going to be pretty !

Aug 22, 2012 01:23 AM #28
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Raj, thank you for your kind words. I enjoy helping .. When it comes to my neighborhood I feel that it benefits everybody.. so when another neighbor wanted to add curb appeal but didn't know how to go about it, I got my gloves on and got to work.

Hi Select Realty Group, it's hard to watch! I would love to call the agent and point out some mistakes and advice about the neighborhood assets .. but I know that it's not welcome.

Hi Michelle, it would be great but I'm not going to get my hopes up. Finding a new neighbor for myself is another tricky situation .. unfortunately, all my friends already own or live too far away :-)

Hi Janis, it's a delicate balancing act. At least your neighbor ended up listening!

Hi Phil, what gave it away? ;-)

Hi Debbie, great suggestion. I might do just that ...

Hi Richard, somewhere else in the neighborhood I could handle but this one is just too close. If only they had listened to half of my suggestions ..

Hi Amada, you got a point! Thank you, I hope so, too!

Hi Wayne and Jean Marie, those are just so tough to watch... you so want to jump in and help, but can't.

Hi Mike, I def. know too much .. I would have loved to refer them to a professional who knows how to get the job done.

Hi Kim, I'm afraid this is what's going to happen here, too. They'll keep dropping the price until it is sold. If they had just done some of the things I suggested and the home was properly marketed, a price drop would not be necessary!

Hi John, I try hard not to check on the listing every day .. it's very tempting but so aggravating. I avoid looking at their home when I come and go.

Aug 22, 2012 01:58 AM #29
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Kudos to you for the help you've provided especially hands on knowing you are not handling the listing.  It's a tough thing to have other signs in the neighborhood and no fun when it's next door.  The house next door has been on the market for 20 months with probably less than 10 showings.  Yup, priced in the stratosphere.  

It's an estate owned home that is paid for.  The son keeps coming over and working on things and seems to have no real interest in selling it unless he gets his price.  I smile and wave and am THRILLED not to be the listing agent. 

I'd rather be the agent that folks know will actually sell their home:-)

At this point, I'm expecting it will be on the market 3-5 years since he's still 125k high and most buyers even in a slightly stronger market are not feeling that generous.  

All the best, Michelle

Aug 22, 2012 03:46 AM #30
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

It happens.

Aug 22, 2012 04:14 AM #31
Jean French-Turner
Southport Realty, Inc. - Southport, NC

I think your neighbors did you a BIG favor!

Aug 22, 2012 04:28 AM #32
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Drives me crazy when I see this and I know I can help them.  Oh well, may it sell anyway so you don't have to keep watching this train wreck!  I love that, "The Truth Will Get Your Home Sold!"  Sigh....

Aug 22, 2012 06:51 AM #33
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I am sure we have all been the exact situation you are in.  There are many people who are willing to take advantage of us and don't even extend the courtesy of letting us compete for their listing.  Let alone listing the home with another agent and not telling us that they have done so.

Aug 22, 2012 07:48 AM #34
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Christiansens: The fire engine red sounds not too bad to me right about now but I'm comparing it to a color like the contents of a diaper. Wanna trade? :-)

Hi Joan, I do know a lot that I would have had to disclose since obviously it didn't get addressed. 

Hi Brian, I cannot possibly imagine ;-)

Hi Beth, I could not have taken the listing but I would have loved to refer them to a professional. I helped because that's just what I do but having great looking homes around us is obviously also important for us. 

Hi Michael, I'm not complaining that they didn't list with me. I do not want that listing because I do know too much of their personal stuff. I'm not trying to find fault where there is none. I would have been thrilled if a professional had listed it. There are mistakes in the listing, the pictures are bad - I cannot believe that this happened at the directive of the seller. To top it off, the home is not being marketed - no open houses, no mailings, no eflyers .. This all is costing them money which is bad for my value, too. I have a problem with that. 

Hi Harry, agree with your first statement but you lost me on the 2nd.

Hi Richie, it's a good example of "How not to sell your house"!

Hi Chris & Dick, I agree with you, it's a little too close for comfort.

Hi Susan, yes indeed! *fingers crossed*

Hi Bryan, that's the sad part ... it's listed with an agent now!

Hi Silvia, it is a blessing! I was happy to help b/c I know how a nice sale will benefit us, too .. 

Hi Bill, *ouch*! 

Hi Michelle, I don't mind helping out one bit. I frequently get my gloves and tools and help neighbors with their yard. A nice block and maintained homes is good for all of us. I'm afraid they'll just drop the price a couple more times and sell ... 

Hi Andrew, obviously :-)

Hi Jean, had they considered some of my advice and hired a professional.. then yes! 

Hi Brenda, I'll join you in that sigh ..

Hi Evelyn, it's fine. I knew this was not going to be my listing but I hoped that they would follow some of my advice which would have been good for our block .. it didn't work out that way.

Aug 22, 2012 09:22 AM #35
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

What a story. You are obviously in a tough spot Andrea, but I would stay as far away as possible.

Aug 22, 2012 09:49 AM #36
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Years ago I had a wise agent in Denver tell me never to list on my own street...still is great advice. But to see the mis-steps happening next door would cause my big mouth to start running over to the neighbors and say "HEY...What the heck are you doing?"  Good Luck!!

Aug 22, 2012 01:43 PM #37
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
You are wise tonot take a listing for the house next door unless it is under your conditions. No one wants to see their sign in the yard for months especially when you see it every day. Hang in there. Hopefully, it will find a buyer soon.
Aug 23, 2012 12:58 AM #38
Paul Francis
Francis Group Real Estate - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes

Sounds like a train wreck where toxic waste is being transported..

Aug 23, 2012 01:37 PM #39
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Hi Sheila, I'm planning on it ...

Hi Mike, thanks! That's pretty much exactly how I feel ..

Hi Karen, exactly. I just couldn't do it with none of my advice being followed ... I hope so!

Hi Paul, it does, doesn't it?


Thanks for your comments!

Aug 24, 2012 08:23 AM #40
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA

Hi Andrea, I came over from Fred Griffin's re-blog.  I feel your pain. We have 2 homes in our neighborhood that we've previously sold that are stagnating in a hot market.  I suggested to one neighbor a few months ago that I thought they were over priced when she told me they had no showings.  She was upset with my comment, so I stayed out of it.  We just do what we do best for those who hire us and watch the rest.

Feb 19, 2013 09:49 AM #41
Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

bring a buyer with full reality and make a realistic offer and see what their true motivation is

Feb 19, 2013 11:32 AM #42
Stanley Stepak
Howard Hanna - Avon Lake, OH - Avon Lake, OH
Realtor - Avon Lake, Avon, Bay Village, Westlake,

Oh I am there right now.  My neighbors house is on the market but fortunately it is with a great agent also raised in the neighborhood.  The house is aged here too and could use some updates to bring a strong buyer. But it is now what it is and I cant say anything.  I feel for this agent as I could not deal with the famiy dynamics I know about this seller family.. I wish her the best.  In your case my fear is what kind of person is going to out there to buy such a home.. you could get an "interesting neighbor" out of all this.

Feb 19, 2013 11:59 AM #43
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M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond
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